Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Maggard MR3B Razor: First Impressions

The MR3B is a classic three-piece
design, but the handle can be
separated into main barrel and
end cap.
The Maggard MR3B is a handsome instrument. Chromed, with an anodized black coating added over the central portion of the handle, it is stout, hefty, and feels good in my hand. Its general design is a traditional three pieces: top cap, base plate, and handle; although it is actually a four-piece razor because the hollow handle has an end cap that can be unscrewed.

The Maggard razor head (top cap and baseplate) is reputed to be a copy of an Edwin Jagger design. Comparing the Maggard to the Merkur 33C Classic head, which is one of my personal favorites, reveals some differences. The Maggard has both a larger blade reveal (how much of the blade you can see when viewed from above the top cap) and a larger blade exposure (how well the blade is protected within the cove formed by the top cap and the safety bar). However, the blade curvature or arch in the head is about the same. Therefore, the Maggard head would be expected to shave more capably than the Merkur on a first pass over more than a day's growth, but, of course, the Merkur is a mild-but-completely-adequate design for most every-day shavers.
[UPDATE: The Maggard blade exposure also means a potentially more harsh and threatening shave for those with sensitive skin, which has been my experience. For me, this is not an every-day shaver.]
Comparing handle dimensions of the Maggard MR3B (center) to the Merkur 37C slant (left) and the Merkur 33C Classic (right). Already a heavy weight at about 93 grams total, the end cap on the MR3B unscrews allowing even more weight to be added. For comparison, the 33C weighs 57 grams and the 37C is about 78 grams.

The blade seating in the Maggard head allows a little play before tightening. This is an aspect of their design that Maggard acknowledges right up front. So if you buy one of their Maggard three-piece razors including the MR3B, you should be prepared to check and adjust the blade alignment within the head every time you assemble the razor.
[UPDATE: I, personally, expect my razors to self center the blade when the proper blade-insertion method is used.]
UPDATE: The Maggard razor head has a fairly large blade reveal and a positive blade exposure. The blade-bar gap is moderate. This combination will offer moderate shaving capacity and the ability to shave closely, but for those with sensitive or less-than-tight skin, the shave may be too harsh or otherwise too risky to be comfortable for a daily shave. 

The entire razor is chrome plated before the black layer on the handle is added. The handle substrate is brass; the head substrate is cast zinc alloy.

For this first shave, I used a Palmolive-brand shave stick and cool water, with no further pre-shave prep. I inserted a Personna Blue blade that was two shaves away from the recycle bank. The two-and-a-half-pass shave was very close, but my unfamiliarity with the razor head and using no special care for this morning's shave yielded a couple of weepers that benefited from a touch of styptic pencil.

In all, not a bad first trip with this razor. My initial impression is positive -- particularly because of esthetics, and I think this razor head might be a good one for those who shave every other day and whose skin isn't that sensitive.

[UPDATE: Further reflection has led me to put this razor head in the shaving shoe box in my closet; it's just too harsh for my sensitive skin. The handle, however, I keep in the bathroom cabinet.]

The handle alone could probably justify the price of the whole razor, and could be a nice accessory for any traditional razor head.

Happy shaving!


  1. If you're feeling lucky, consider the Schmidt R10 on Amazon. Can't tell you anything about it, mine's on a slow boat right now. But I generally prefer clones originating in China.

    1. Yep, this is the one... shaves like Muhle/EJ, on sale for $15! Pictures make it look like satin finish, but it's mirror chrome. It's not super efficient, but you've got to have it, trust me.